UC Santa Cruz names Elizabeth Cowell new University Librarian

Elizabeth Cowell
Elizabeth Cowell (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

M. Elizabeth Cowell has been selected by UC Santa Cruz as the campus’s new University Librarian, effective July 15.

A leading voice in state and national advocacy efforts on behalf of university libraries, Cowell has 20 years of management experience in academic libraries with a strong record of accomplishment and strategic leadership in operations, fundraising, and innovation.

Cowell has served as University Librarian at UC Santa Cruz in an interim capacity since July 15, 2013. She first came to the campus in 2008 as the Associate University Librarian for Public Services. In that capacity, she worked with administration and staff to absorb challenging budget cuts while maintaining core library services.

Cowell played an integral role in the recent expansion and renovation of McHenry Library. She led staff through an analysis of all public services, implementing strategic changes that have resulted in a dramatic increase in library attendance. 

Cowell has also collaborated on other major planning efforts at UC Santa Cruz, such as the upcoming renovation of the Science and Engineering Library, as well as campuswide projects in strategic planning.

Cowell holds a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her professional experience includes work at Stanford University; the University of California, San Diego; the Wisconsin Historical Society; Eastern New Mexico University; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and the League of Women Voters of Illinois.

The appointment is pending approval from UC President Janet Napolitano.